NY: At Fund-Raiser, Cynthia Nixon Says She Favors Legalizing Marijuana

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Brooks

Cynthia Nixon, the actress and Democratic candidate for governor, told supporters at a private fund-raiser last week that if elected she would seek to legalize marijuana and tax it to raise revenue for New York, attendees said.

“She said that if marijuana is legal we can tax it and make a lot of money from that,” said Julie Klam, an author who attended the event.

Ms. Nixon’s comments about recreational marijuana came at a house party at the Upper West Side home of Isabel Gillies, a writer and former actress. Attendees donated $50 to the campaign, Ms. Gillies said, estimating that about 70 people crammed into her home as her children passed around carrots and pita chips.

Ms. Nixon made some prepared remarks and took questions. She said she would “legalize marijuana and put a tax on it,” Ms. Gillies said.

Dan Davenport, an editor and writer who also attended, recalled that when Ms. Nixon was asked about legalizing marijuana, she “pumped her first and said yes.”

“She was very exuberant about that point,” he said, noting she framed the issue around raising revenue.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has long opposed legalizing recreational marijuana.

Since Ms. Nixon declared her bid for governor in mid-March, she has provided few details about her policy plans for the state. Instead, she has focused almost exclusively on criticizing Mr. Cuomo, the two-term incumbent she is challenging in the primary, questioning both his ethics and whether he is a “real Democrat.”

Asked about her qualifications outside a campaign launch party, Ms. Nixon quipped, “My chief of staff has not been convicted on three counts of bribery — that’s a start.” Joseph Percoco, one of Mr. Cuomo’s former top aides and his former campaign manager, was recently convicted in a federal corruption trial.

Ms. Nixon has never held office or managed a large organization, although she has been an education activist in New York for more than a decade. In the early stages of her campaign, she has said schools deserve more equitable funding, and she has backed raising taxes on those earning more than $5 million. She has also vowed to focus on the beleaguered subway system in New York City but has offered few specifics.

Her stance on marijuana puts her on the opposite side of the issue from Mr. Cuomo. Last year, he called it a “gateway drug” and said, “As of this date, I am unconvinced on recreational marijuana.” Mr. Cuomo has supported a tightly regulated medical marijuana program in the state.

In January 2018, Mr. Cuomo ordered a study of recreational marijuana as New Jersey moved toward legalization and after Massachusetts voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana.

“This is an important topic, it’s a hotly debated topic, pardon the pun, and it’d be nice to have some facts in the middle of the debate once in a while,” Mr. Cuomo said then.

It is not clear what exactly Ms. Nixon is proposing, and her spokeswoman declined to comment.